Breaking news out of Alpine, Texas, this morning of a school shooting at a high school in the Alpine school district. The shooting is being described as an active shooting at the time of press.
CBS 7 is reporting that the Big Bend Medical Center in Alpine, Texas, has stated there are no victim deaths to report at this time. All schools in the district and all administration buildings immediately underwent what is now being called a “critical lock down” reports CBS 7.
News 10 ABC reports that Alpine High School is home to approximately 280 students. Students of Alpine High School were held at Jehovah’s Witness Church near the high school until the active shooting scene was called off, reports CBS 7.
The Alpine Avalanche has reported via their Facebook page that approximately one hour after the news of an active shooting broke, 1 student was shot and 1 student “took own life.” The Avalanche is also reporting a law enforcement officer has been shot in “friendly fire” or accidental discharge. Texas Monthly has confirmed that it was a Homeland Security agent that was the law enforcement officer shot by accidental discharge by a U.S. Marshal.
Texas Monthly has also confirmed that multiple law enforcement agencies including Homeland Security, the FBI, and local law enforcement were involved in the investigation of the Alpine High School shooting throughout the early hours when little information was known. The most recent update on the Homeland Security agent from the Texas Monthly is that he was flown to Odessa Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
CNN reports that the law enforcement officer was shot by a fellow law enforcement officer while the marshal was responding to the school. Multiple outlets are now reporting 1 shooter is dead. It is now confirmed by CNN that a lone shooter is dead due to self-inflicted gunshot wounds and that there are no other suspected shooters at this time.
At approximately 11:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, the Alpine Avalanche, a newspaper serving the Alpine, Texas, community, reported that all schools in the Alpine School District were on a critical lockdown, and that students of Alpine High School were being evacuated to a nearby Jehovah’s Witness Center. It was reportedly only 20 minutes prior to that announcement that a shooting occurred in the school band hall inside Alpine High School according to CNN.
Elizabeth Carter, a lieutenant with the Texas Department of Public Safety, has said that a gun was brought to school this morning by a student, reports NECN News.
CNN reports that at approximately 9:40 a.m. local time, 10:40 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, a shooting occurred in the school band hall and that one person died. However, a police dispatcher has told NECN News that an “unspecified” incident also occurred even earlier than this in the school at 9 a.m. Central Time. The police dispatcher also told NECN News that police were still looking for an active shooter at that time.
Thirty-five minutes after the 11 a.m. evacuation notice, the Alpine Avalanche confirmed that one student had been shot, and one student had taken their own life, and a law enforcement officer had been shot in friendly fire.
The Big Bend Regional Medical Center is reportedly attending to 3 victims according to NECN News. A spokesperson for the Medical Center would not confirm if the victims had been shot, or the extent of their medical needs.
Sul Ross University in Alpine, Texas, is also on critical lockdown after an individual called the police and said, “If you think what happened at the school is bad, wait until you see what happens at Sul Ross.” The Alpine Avalanche has reported police resources have been diverted to Sul Ross University due to a bomb threat. Texas Monthly reports that Big Bend Medical Center also received a bomb threat, as did a local hotel.
News 10 ABC reports Sul Ross University has issued the following emergency statement.
“An active shooter threat exists for the Sul Ross State University Alpine Campus. A campus wide lockdown is in effect immediately and everyone is requested to shelter in place. Additional details will be released when available.”
It has now been confirmed by NBC News that the shooting this morning occurred between two female students attending Alpine High. One female student shot a fellow female student in the hallway located near the school band room before taking the gun and turning it on herself.
The shooter has died. CNN has reported that one person sustained injuries to the lower extremities, and this has been confirmed by the Alpine Avalanche newspaper. The female victim of the shooting suffered non-life-threatening injuries and is expected to make a full recovery reports Alpine Avalanche via their Facebook page.
Students described a scene of chaos in the moments immediately following the shooting reports NBC News. One teacher told all students to hide in the corner of the room, locked the door, and turned the lights off. This was the scene described to NBC News by 17-year-old William Butler who was in pre-calculus at Alpine High during the incident.
After the teacher had initiated the lock down procedure in class, he says he heard gunshots in the hall. The police arrived just moments later to escort students to safety. He told NBC,
“It was scary, I didn’t really know what was going to happen. The cops knocked on the door a little bit later and started to escort everyone out. When the police escorted us out of the classroom there was a trail of blood going from the hallway I was going in towards the band hall.”
Another student reported hearing multiple gunshots to NBC News. Keyshla Vargas says she was in engineering class during second period when the chaos erupted. The students were instructed by her teacher to go into the closets and turn their phones off.
An announcement then came over the school’s intercom that the school was in critical lockdown. Keyshla told NBC,
“Our teacher said to be quiet, that this was not a drill. We heard yelling and then we heard gunshots. One of the guys and me held hands and we started praying together. It was terrifying.”
At 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the Alpine Avalanche reported on their Facebook page that students had been released to their parents for pickup.
Sheriff Dodson of Brewster County told CBS 7 that the shooter used a semi-automatic pistol and was carrying “plenty of ammunition.” She was a 14-year-old freshman reports ABC 2 WBAY.
No identifying information about either the shooter or her victim have been released. However the grandfather of the shooter has spoken with local police and is very perplexed by what could have caused this, reports CBS 7.
The shooter was new to the school, having moved to the area approximately six months ago reports CBS. The grandfather told the police his grand-daughter was a straight A student. Sheriff Dodson has informed the public that the parents of the shooter have cooperated fully with the police and the investigation.
No motive for the shooting has been released at this time reports Texas Monthly. Sheriff Dodson has said more information will be released to the public in the coming days.
During this chaos, a bomb threat was called into Brewster County Sheriff’s Department at Sul Ross University, a technical institute. It is unclear if the events are connected, but Sheriff Ronny Dodson was not happy about having to divert resources during an active shooting reports the Providence Journal. The Providence Journal says he told KVLF News,
“That’s ridiculous for someone to call in something like this when we’ve got this situation going on. This community does not expect this, we don’t want this, and we can’t explain it yet.”
The Avalanche reported that they are trying to get an update on the bomb threat, but that the officials believe it is “likely a hoax.” Even so, Sheriff Dodson has told the press that multiple agencies, including Homeland Security, the FBI, border patrol, and multiple local agencies are working on the bomb threats reports Texas Monthly. “Every room every trash can” are being examined by canine units, he said.
The officials believe the bomb threats across the town of Alpine were a hoax, although they are taking them seriously. Sheriff Dodson says that the source of the bomb threat calls he is referring to as “pranks” is also being taken seriously, “because of what he [prankster] has done to our community” reports Texas Monthly. If found, the prank caller will be dealt with many arms of the law.
Per the Sul Ross University Facebook page, many students were diverted at no cost to the Quality Inn until the campus has been cleared for safety. The campus will be open tomorrow per the Sul Ross Facebook page, however the President of the University has issued a statement saying that if any students are connected personally with the Alpine High School shooting tragedy, “it is best for you to stay home with your family.”
A football game between Alpine High School and Pecos scheduled for tonight has been rescheduled for Saturday evening. Sul Ross posted a photo sending love and compassion to the Alpine High family this evening expressing their support.
Watch this clip of the immediate aftermath of the chaos as students gathered outside the school.
CNN reports that Alpine, Texas, is a small community with a population of approximately 6,500. It is located 200 miles southeast of El Paso, Texas. Alpine High School is home to approximately 280 students.